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Ocean's Eleven Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 11+

Chummy caper comedy, mainly for Rat Pack fanciers.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the whole movie amounts to a glorification of thievery. Not one character questions whether it's morally right to pull off the big casino robbery, just whether they can get away with it. In accord with the studio censorship codes of yesteryear, though, crime does not pay in the end (except a modest handout to an innocent, struggling widow). The Las Vegas "fun city" ambiance of gambling and high times is robustly present, with much drinking, smoking, and other grownup pursuits idealized. Note that the casinos are shown behaving legally and ethically, even forbidding a prominent celebrity (comic Red Skelton, portraying himself) from exceeding his betting limit. That little vignette is as close as it comes to a Gamblers Anonymous PSA. Households who disapprove of gambling altogether still won't be happy. Neither will those sensitive to the male characters' occasional denigration of women and a few racial gags made at Sammy Davis Jr.'s expense.

  • Families can talk about the popularity of Ocean's Eleven in its time. Do kids today find the actor-entertainers all that charming? Are their swaggering ways and attitudes toward women still "cool," or backwards and embarrassing? You can also discuss the enduring appeal of caper movies. Consider the ironic twist ending and Hollywood's old studio-censorship rule that dictated outlaws could never be allowed to succeed in the end (the George ClooneyOcean's Eleven remake and sequels didn't have this problem). Why do you think clever lawbreaking and heists became especially popular on movie screens in the rebellious 1960s?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Main characters are all thieves (and decorated WWII heroes). Danny is an unapologetic womanizer, cheating openly on his estranged wife (who is less upset about that than his lawless lifestyle). The guys make snide comments about women, joking about taking away their rights and making them all slaves, symptomatic of the "Rat Pack" idea of a grown-up boys' club. A black man is included on equal footing with the rest, but there are some skin-color jokes at Sammy Davis Jr.'s expense (but behind the scenes Frank Sinatra was a passionate supporter of the civil rights cause).

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A saloon-style fight, and a cast-off girlfriend throws a vase at Danny.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Tame scene of a bikini-clad snake dancer in a burlesque house, with the attitudes and whistles signifying to young viewers that something naughty's going on. Some talk of Danny Ocean's extramarital affairs.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: The real-life Vegas casinos mentioned are no longer in existence -- but the city sure is.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: An excess of "cool" drinking and cigarette smoking (Shirley MacLaine has a comic-drunk cameo).

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